Grapevine – Friday July 5, 2019 – July 11, 2019


Monorail or Tram

The latest on the saga of improving Pattaya’s public transport is that a raised-level monorail is out of favour with planners. Too expensive. A more sensible solution is apparently to link all areas of downtown Pattaya with a comprehensive tram service. Everyone will agree with that idea – provided planners come up with a solution to traffic chaos and gridlock on our overused roads. Ban all coaches within the city limits?


Plastic Health

The latest street scam is to invite you to buy a small plastic card which you place carefully on your body nearest to a painful area and, hey-ho, you feel better in no time. Can cure anything from headaches and in-growing toenails to prostate cancer and high blood pressure. Maybe. Do you remember those expensive metals pointers which could detect roadside bombs to assist the army patrols? They didn’t work either.


Cars and Motorbikes

If you are a foreigner buying or selling a vehicle, you will need a certificate of residence from immigration. To obtain this you will need a copy of your passport and valid visa, proof of your current address and – newish regulation – the log book of the vehicle in question plus photocopy. Don’t forget too you will need two passport-size photos as part of your package. Most immigration offices nowadays will issue certificates of residence in Thai only. If you need a translation for some reason, you will need to arrange by yourself.


Drugs and You

Possessing drugs in Thailand is always bad news. Marijuana was banned in 1979 under a narcotics law and even smoking a ganja cigarette can lead to arrest. In 2019, the law was very narrowly amended to permit legal use only for specified medical purposes. Don’t believe anyone who tells you marijuana is now legal here. It most certainly is not. About 70 percent of all people who are in jail today in Thailand have been found guilty of drugs crimes, or are awaiting their trial locked up as they can’t afford bail.


Sending Currency

If you are sending cash from abroad to your Thai bank here, you need to peruse carefully the applicable rates of exchange. In most cases, it will be cheaper to send the pounds or euros or whatever to Thailand to be converted to baht here rather than in the transmitting country. But a growing number of foreigners have in Thailand an account in their home currency which you can then convert when convenient to you. Check it out.


Keeping Abreast

Overheard in a pub. A local transvestite is appealing for urgent funds to have a second breast implant operation. She told wannabe donors that she had already had one operation but this had proved to be very inadequate. When asked what was wrong, she said had run out of money after the surgeon had performed the procedure on just one breast, thus leaving her very lopsided. Please help.


Trink Remembered

A reader asks when Bernard Trink stopped writing his column for the Bangkok Post. That would be December 2003, although he still writes book reviews for the same newspaper most weekends. His column Nite Owl was for decades the must-read page for those interested in night life in Bangkok and, to a less extent, Pattaya. A New Yorker born in 1931, Bernard is one of the last literary links to a Thailand which elderly farang remember with affection.


Overdue Solution

At last City Hall is beginning to tackle the problem of illegal dumpers unloading lorry-loads of trash on the still-green areas of Jomtien, thus disfiguring what remains of our verdant pastures. They tend to operate at night for obvious reasons, but there have recently been several successful prosecutions. If you live in or near vulnerable areas, you can report the crimes by phoning the local authority helpline 1337, 24 hours.


DIY Disaster

Attention all those who are disappointed with their personal attributes. You would hardly think that a national campaign would be needed to advise male Thais and farang not to inject their private parts with a black ooze, nor to place them in a boiling pot, nor to cover them with a lumpy cream. But a group of doctors say the warning is necessary because so many men are disfiguring their nether regions with DIY treatments. Now you know.


Thoughts for the Week

Here are some reflections about Success. “There’s no secret about success. Did you ever know a successful man who didn’t tell you about it?” (Margaret Thatcher). “If at first you don’t succeed … well that’s skydiving,” (Jim Backus). “The secret of success is to know something nobody else knows,” (Aristotle Onassis). “The penalty of success is to be bored by people who used to snub you,” (Lady Astor).